Haslemere Beer Festival saw ticket sales drop 50 per cent last weekend, with organisers blaming the latest rail strikes.
Simon Labrow, who runs the festival, told the BBC: “We’ve run the event for 15 years and this has never happened before at this scale.”
Both days of the beer festival, last Friday and Saturday, were affected by the latest walkouts by RMT and ASLEF union members.
Simon continued: “We were devastated because we have fixed outgoings that we have to spend on the festival in advance and we didn’t know this [the strikes] was going to happen”.
As the Haslemere Hall festival is located just a 10-minute walk from Haslemere station many of the festival goers come via train – but the strike action deterred many of them from coming.
It wasn’t just customers that were affected, several of Simon’s volunteers were unable to get there to help run the event.
The rail strikes sought to create as much disruption as possible, with leisure passengers comprising the main target since the pandemic reduced commuter use of trains.
A spokesperson for the Department for Transport told the BBC: “It’s frustrating to see both Aslef and RMT co-ordinate their strikes with the aim of causing as much disruption as possible on the last weekend of the summer holidays.”
The RMT also has a mandate to strike until November. But its general secretary Mick Lynch said the union was already preparing to re-ballot workers over further action this autumn and winter.
The unions want the pay offer to reflect the rising cost-of-living.
Rail Delivery Group spokesman said: “Our fair and affordable offer, worth 13 per cent to the lowest paid, remains on the table and we urge the RMT leadership to allow their membership a vote on it.”